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British Industrial History

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Edward Bancroft

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Edward Bancroft (1811-1855)

Partner from 1843 in Fairbanks, Bancroft and Co (originally known as Fairbanks, Clark & Co.), machinists, of Providence, RI, USA, until 1848 or 1849, when he moved to Philadelphia and entered into partnership as Bancroft and Sellers with his brother-in-law, William Sellers.[1] [2]. Edward died in 1855, and the firm became William Sellers and Co.

Edward Bancroft was the son of Quakers John Bancroft (1774-1852), chairmaker, and Elizabeth (Wood) Bancroft (1775-1845), who married in 1800. Edward was one of thirteen children. They lived initially in Salford, where their eldest John (1802-1882) was apprenticed to his father in the family chairmaking firm. Joseph Bancroft (1803-1874), the second son, was apprenticed to his uncle John Bright in his cotton mill in Rochdale. When the chairmaking business foundered, the family moved to Garthgynan Farm, North Wales where they tried farming, unsuccessfully. John and Elizabeth Bancroft subsequently moved to the USA, where her brother John Wood had settled in Wilmington. John and Elizabeth’s son John Bancroft junior had moved to Philadelphia in 1821 to set up a tallow chandler business. His parents and siblings joined him in 1822 (except Joseph Bancroft, who remained in Rochdale to complete his apprenticeship). In 1824 Joseph arrived in Wilmington, where the family had removed to set up a woollen/flannel mill. Information condensed from here[3]. Edward Bancroft was born in Garthgynan in 1811. He married Mary (Sellers), and they had two daughters, Anna P. Bancroft and Elizabeth Bancroft, and a son, John Sellers Bancroft, who was for a time a machinist with William Sellers and Co and later became a partner in the firm.

One source credits Edward Bancroft as the first to make an iron planer in America, 'in about 1830' [4]. However, in 1838 Bancroft is reported to have obtained a Whitworth planer from Locks and Gates.

In 1844 Bancroft offered George H. Corliss a position as draughtsman at Fairbanks, Bancroft, and Co.[5]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Colonial Families of Philadelphia, Volume II by John W. Jordan, LL.D., 1911
  2. [2] New England Wireless & Steam Museum - Corliss Steam Engine Co.
  3. [3] BAN - Papers of the Bancroft Family 1715-1984: ADMINISTRATIVE AND BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY: Alfred Gillett Trust GB2075 BAN, Papers of the Bancroft Family, 1732-1984 by Charlotte Berry, latest revision 30 Oct 2014 BAN Papers of the Bancroft Family 1715-1984 ADMINISTRATIVE AND BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY
  4. [4] American Machinist, 15 March 1884, p.2
  5. [5] RIAMCO George H. Corliss collection inventory